Fantasy Mystery Romance Comics Non-Fiction

Point Blank: Five Dangerous Ground Novellas

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Point Blank: Five Dangerous Ground Novellas (2017) Josh Lanyon

This is a collection of five novellas, featuring Taylor MacAllister and Will Brandt, agents for the Department of Diplomatic Security.

Dangerous Ground (2008)

Six weeks earlier, Taylor was shot during an investigation. Now, as Taylor is preparing to return to work (desk duty), the two have taken a vacation together to see if they can fix what went wrong with their partnership.

Almost four years they’d been together: partners and friends— good friends— but maybe that was over now. Taylor didn’t want to think so, but —

His boot turned on a broken door lever, and Will’s hand shot out, steadying him. Taylor pulled away, just managing to control his impatience.

Yeah, that was the problem. Will didn’t think Taylor was capable of taking two steps without Will there to keep an eye on him.

Unfortunately, the discovery of an old crash site complicates matters.

I like both Taylor and Will. I like that Taylor is still struggling to recover from being shot in the chest, and that Will is struggling with feeling guilty over Taylor getting shot.

The discovery of the crash site and succeeding events are just stretching the bounds of credulity, but I was ok with it.

Old Poison (2009)

Taylor has been back at work for two months, and has finally been released from desk duty to return to the field. Will is hoping to celebrate Taylor’s birthday and return to full health, but life is always complicated, and nothing is what Taylor wants or expects.

I really like Taylor’s house.

The house was an original Craftsman bungalow. It had been in terrible shape when Taylor bought it two years previously. Actually, it was still in terrible shape, but Taylor was renovating it, one room at a time, in his spare hours.

This is another mystery that stretched probability, but again, I was ok with it.

Blood Heat (2010)

Taylor and Will find themselves in New Mexico trying to recover an escaped prisoner, while also trying to work out whether Will is going to take his promotion and reassignment to Paris.

This one was kinda ridiculous, but I was amused anyway.

Taylor looked back at Hedwig. She bared her teeth at him. No shit. Bared her tiny white teeth like Monty Python’s Rabbit of Caerbannog.

“I didn’t think turkeys could fly,” Taylor said suddenly, seemingly still brooding over his close encounter with the local inhabitants. “You don’t think there are bears or anything out here?”

“No way,” said Will, who did absolutely think this state forest had bears, mountain lions, rattlesnakes, and a whole lot of other critters Taylor didn’t need to know about.

This was my least favorite story of the five.

Dead Run (2011)

Will has been in Paris for almost a year, and Taylor has finally managed to get his vacation to go visit him. But sighting a suspected terrorist (long in the tooth though the terrorist may have been) upends everything.

Will and Taylor were putting their fellow travelers to shame. Taylor ruffled Will’s hair, and Will tried to put Taylor in a headlock.

Well, you had to do something when you’d never kissed in public.

One of the things I particularly like about Josh Lanyon’s writing is that injuries are not something brushed off. A concussion has repercussions–physical ones–that don’t just disappear.

I quite liked the settings of the catacombs and cemeteries.

Kick Start (2013)

The final story has Will and Taylor back in the state, out on their own and struggling to get their business off the ground. It also finds them traveling to meet Will’s family, before his brother Grant leaves for a tour of Iraq.

Unfortunately, Will isn’t out at home, and that complicates things even more.

Will is who he is. He didn’t become gay for me. I didn’t make him gay.” Taylor’s sense of humor sparked back into life— did Grant think he’d forced Will to watch musicals? Eat quiche?— but he squelched it.

We also get a glimpse of Taylor’s family, which is also complicated.

She hadn’t always been this thrilled with his sexuality. In fact, she had been very uncomfortable and unhappy when he’d tried to come out in college. But as society and her social circle had adjusted their attitudes, her feelings had changed. Now she seemed to believe having a gay son was a kind of cultural coup.

I quite liked these five novellas, and will gladly pick up another story with these characters.
Rating: 7.5/10

Categories: 7.5/10, Anthology, LGBT, Mystery, Police, Romance, Sexual Content

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